The Master Teacher

As I helped my Golden Kali with her aging hips onto the couch I cuddled her. We were alone in the family room while Holly cleaned up after dinner. Puppy Kloe was still sleeping under the dinner table.

As Kali settled onto the couch I whispered out loud into her ear. “I love you Kali, more than you can ever comprehend”.

Kali looked at me with sleepy eyes and it hit me. I paused for a moment and then I said, again out loud, “Wait – maybe you love me more than I can ever comprehend”.

And so it was. Another moment, another day, and another lesson I’ve learned from my Golden Kali.

My Golden Kali The Master Teacher.

Kloe Time

From Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge, truth, wisdom.  And all for free).

Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.  Blah blah blababdy blah…

OK , I added the blababdy blah part but whatever….

I mean after all, isn’t time somewhat arbitrary?   I imagine, and can only imagine -because my ADD impatience keeps me from reading more than the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article and even then only some of the words – that there are scientific and logical arguments that prove time to be something other than arbitrary.  If I force myself to look farther down the Wiki page I see words like “physical qualities” and “temporal measurement”.  Huh?…

The article began to catch my interest and as I read further I saw that J.M. E. McTaggart’s 1908 The Unreality of Time argues that, since every event has the characteristic of being both present and not present (i.e., future or past), that time is a self-contradictory idea.  Apparently old J.M.E. was a deep thinker and something called an Idealist Metaphysician.  Cool title but how much could that job pay, right??

“But wait Mike”, you might say.  “I follow this blog to read about Golden Kali, and her little sister Kloe, and to see all those cute pictures of their antics and sweetness.  If I want to read science and hear fact-based philosophical arguments I’ll get that info like everyone else does by turning to social media and reviewing the seemingly endless stream of memes that monopolizes my feed”.

OK, fair point.  So on to the real purpose of this post.

One year ago today we brought a nine-week 15 pound puppy home that we named Kloe.  Kloe doesn’t give a woof about time except if it’s time to eat, or time to walk, or time to play, or time to cuddle.  Those are concepts of time Kloe can relate to.   Kloe time.  But, in “the continued progress of existence and events” it is has been a year, and now at one year and nine-weeks old, Kloe is still very much the same exactly the same pup she was one year ago.  Except now she is 65 pounds heavier and a few feet  longer.

One year, one pup, and one heck of a lot of love and fun this sweet girl has brought into our life.  I might have remembered anyway but in the spirit of full disclosure here is the real reason I knew that it was one year ago today that we brought Kloe home:

Yep – it was in my Facebook feed: “One Year Ago  – see your memories”.  And there were two pictures of Kloe the day she came home.  I smiled, paused for a few moments to reflect, and then scrolled down through the endless stream of memes looking for fake news.

Thank you Facebook for bringing a very special piece of the time continuum to my news feed. 

(1) On This Day 2017-05-07 09-32-59

Thank you Kloe for all the licks, laughs, and love during the past year.

 

Kids – they grow up so fast….

…and even faster when they’re dogs.

The photo below was taken a few days ago.  We use puzzle bowls to slow down meal time for these two food hounds we call Kali and Kloe.  The bowls have a pattern with varying shapes and depths.  It’s a great way to avoid bloating and extend by several minutes  one of  their absolute favorite activity of the day.

Kloe’s bowl is the green one that she’s standing next to.  Kloe recently graduated from a very simple puzzle bowl – four big sections – to the green one that used to be Kali’s.  Even when you’re a pup if you’ve got an older sibling you get hand me downs, right?  The first few days I’d had to help Kloe with the last few pieces of kibble or veggies but she quickly learned that if the crevice where the food was sitting is a bit too deep for her tongue that she could push the food to a more shallow area and gobble it up.  It still takes her several minutes to finish eating but that’s the point.

Kali’s got the new orange bowl with slightly more difficult terrain.   It has deeper crevices and the design is more challenging.  If you look closely in the photo you can see that there is a small piece of apple that she couldn’t get out.  She had resigned herself not completely solving the puzzle during this particular meal and after an extended attempt to get her tongue to do the job she laid down to lament her failure.

Kali and Kloe are very respectful of one another at meal time.  When Kloe was very young she made the mistake of trying to get a piece of kibble out of Kali’s bowl while Kali was eating.  Kloe wasn’t much more than 9 weeks old and as gentle as Kali had been with her, and continues to be now, Kali made sure that Kloe never did that again.  A stern growl and nip to Kloe’s ear drew a little blood and high pitched yelps and the lesson was served.  Kali has been a great teacher and this was a tough but important lesson for Kloe at an early age.

On this day Kloe kept her distance and eventually sauntered over to the orange bowl and I snapped the photo as these two went nose to nose in a dinner time stare down.  They stayed in this stare down for several seconds until I – the diplomat that I am – dislodged the apple chip and gave a small piece to each of them.

Kloe has been in our pack for two months.  She was just nine weeks old when we brought her home.  It’s been so great to see her grow and mature.  Much of the maturity can be attributed to Holly’s daily training sessions and to Kali’s mentoring.

The video below the photo was taken when Kloe was about 10 weeks old and right before we moved from our home in Livermore to Tuolumne.  The video shows a small pup – not even half her size now – with the same tenacious and playful personality that I have come to adore.

Kids – they grow up so fast!

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Dinner time stare down at the Golden K Corral

Meet Kloe

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE……

In the left corner hailing from Bakersfield, passing through Lodi, briefly spending time in Livermore and then onto the Sierra Nevada Foothills is Kloe!  At nine weeks old, in light red fur weighing in at 15 pounds is the Golden Retriever puppy ready to win your heart and dazzle your imagination.

Actually, like Kali, I’m sure Kloe is a lover and not a fighter.  After all she’s a Golden.  Another “Golden K”.

Kloe joined our pack this week and we are thrilled to have another fur baby in the den.   Like most babies she has already established a routine of play, eat, poop, sleep, and repeat.    Holly has been great taking the lead and doing all the right things to quickly establish ground rules, routine, and discipline.  She’s an experienced mom so I’m not surprised at the combined success!

Kloe has been trying her best to get her new big sister to engage in play but Kali so far has been uninterested.  I think Kali will come around but for the moment she is a reluctant participant.

Meanwhile, we are thrilled that another “Golden K” has joined the pack and will be with us on this adventure called life.

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Meet Kloe (Sweetie Girl)

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New Sissies

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Uh…

Kloe: a sneak peek

As mentioned a few posts ago the tag line of this Golden Kali blog has changed to “Kali’s New Life In The Mountains“.  It used to be “Kali’s New Life In America” but it’s been almost two years since she arrived and we are now off to new adventures in the Sierra Foothills.

Kali will have a new companion beginning next week.  Her name is Kloe and she is an eight week old Golden Retriever.

So while this post provides a sneak peek to the new pup who joins our pack next week, it’s mostly about why Holly and I feel compelled to bring more craziness love into our lives.  Especially during a time of significant transition.

(BTW Kloe is pronounced Chloe but spelled with a K because well, because of Kali… makes sense, right?…)

My sister Victoria and  I came out of the same womb, had the same parents and same wonderful childhoods growing up in Suburbia USA.  But we couldn’t be more different in so many ways… Last week I called Vicki to update her on our move and tell her we were getting a new pup. My sister is only four years older than me but at times we seem a generation apart.  She scolds me gives me “motherly” advice and has a hard time understanding or relating to many of the life choices Holly and I make; like moving to the mountains…

So when I told her about Kloe she didn’t offer congratulations but she did offer many cautions and some of the aformentioned motherly advice.  Vicki says, “Michael, puppies are a lot of work.  Do you really know what you’re getting into?  That puppy is going to pee all over your new house”.  I was a little hurt but not surprised.  I love my sister and as we’ve aged I’ve come to see her as the beautiful loving person she is.  She married late, never had children, and has always been a loving aunt to my kids.  She is also a sincere  animal lover donating time and money to various animal causes.  Maybe in this case just not a lover of animals who may  make her brother’s life hectic and dirty his house…  🙂  She is compelled after almost 60 years to take care of me and I love her for that.

This morning I received an email from Vicki apologizing for “being a downer” when I told her about the puppy. The email was an appreciated but not necessary gesture.  After all we’re siblings so why start apologizing now!   As I went to delete the email I paused and decided to respond.   This is what I wrote:

Vicki – Thanks for your email.   No apology necessary.  Crazy how life works sometimes….

Why do many people have kids?  They’re a lot of work, heartache at times, and cost a lot of money.  They break things, make messes, and demand your attention when you’re too tired to even think let alone play a game or throw a ball.   Yet we have them, mostly on purpose, and once our children are born we have no regrets.  Why?  Because kids are unconditional love,  they’re innocent (at least for a while), they’re fun, they keep us young at heart, they make us feel secure and make us feel complete.  Children complete the family unit and sometimes the more the better.

I think for me this is why, especially now that the kids are grown,  we have dogs.  All the same rationale above about children apply.  

Crazy huh?…
– Love, Michael

 

I’ve never thought about having a dog in these terms before. At least not consciously.  But this morning at 7:00 am as I read my sister’s message on my iPhone with Kali lying by my side it was perfectly clear and I felt compelled to reply.   Although Vicki had no children family has always been paramount to her and she will understand and agree with my rationale and emotions.  She may not even care if Kloe has an “accident” when I bring her over to visit.

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Kloe, sitting with the red collar

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Kloe and her sisters.  I wish we could bring home the Trio!

It’s good to be a dog

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this year so that could mean an early Spring.  I mean who can argue with science like this 130 year old gem, right?  To further corroborate the science, Canada’s Shubenacadie Sam also did not see his shadow.  Since Groundhogs are not prone to collusion there is a strong argument for early Spring.

Spring is still five or six weeks away on calendars and even farther away in reality. Out here in the wild wild west we need more rain – lots of it – so I hope if there is an early Spring there are more than just Spring showers…

But this past week of unseasonable weather has been warming (pun intended) to the  body, mind, and soul.  I know this because Kali told me.  Not with words (you do know she can’t actually speak, right?) but with her actions.

Our walk along the creek trail was nothing less than glorious this morning.  The warm air and slight breeze wafting the smell of wet grass and emerging honeysuckle blossoms was not lost on either Kali or I.  Kali seemed particularly anxious to get to the pond.  Sometimes when we walk she stops in her tracks (pulling my arm out of my shoulder socket) in an effort to get a treat.  Other time she lallygags (it’s a word – look it up) smelling every pee-mail bush and pole along the path.  But today Kali marched like a trooper laser locked on her target which I thought was the pond but, as it turned out was the spot where we turn onto the golf course.

Since the golf course closed a few months ago Kali and I will often make our way back home by walking the fairways that parallel the creek and path.  With the relative vastness of the open fairways far from the streets and usually with no other walkers – two or four legged – I’ve become comfortable letting Kali off leash as we trek back home.  It’s great to see Kali wonder around off leash sniffing and exploring.  She never wonders too far from me and if I get too far ahead when she notices and comes galloping up to me to check in.  If there’s a flock of geese foraging along the way she’ll give chase, they’ll fly off in unison, and Kali follows convinced, I’m sure, that she can catch them.

Today I think the hint of Spring was in Kali’s senses.  As we walked home on the golf course Kali would sniff a patch of grass, plow her head into to the ground and then slam the rest of her body down as she rolled around on her back absorbing the wet grass and scents into her body.  Feet up in the air, smile on her snoot, and tongue hanging out she seemed to be saying (with her body because remember she doesn’t actually talk) “thank you Mother Nature for this glorious day”.

This happened several times along the way and each time she seemed to seek out an even wetter section with longer grass and she rolled and rolled and rolled.  And I laughed and laughed and laughed.  A happy laugh.  A loving laugh.  A “it must be great to be a dog” laugh.

We finally make it back to the short gravel path that leads to the trail head at the end of our street and I see that Kali has grass stains all over her coat.  Kali is rarely “a dog” but today she was and it made me so happy to see her so happy in her canine-ness.

So as we walk along the gravel stretch of path there’s a stream of water a few inches deep from run off from a garden or leaky pipe.  Kali goes straight to the stream and walks the rest of the way home in it.   Like a mare clip clopping through a shallow river Kali walked along looking at her feet and seeming to take great pride in the splashes and presumably, the cool wetness on her paws.

As the saying goes. “It’s good to be King”, but I think it’s way better to be a dog!

 

FORE!

The nine hole golf course that runs along our creek trail has temporarily shut down operations.  The course hasn’t been in good shape in forever but it’s always been a good place for kids, seniors, and beginners of all ages to play golf in a casual atmosphere without worry of being too slow or not very good.  The course may re-open but for now it is closed down.

Kali and I thought this was a great opportunity to change up our routine and go off course and walk the fairways that parallel the creek trail.

Kali has watched the golfers over the months as we walk along the trail and apparently she has had a greater interest in the game than I was aware of.    As we walked onto the fourth hole and passed by the tee box Kali stopped and looked at the yardage sign.  She then magically pulled out a driver from thin air.  Poof!  She sized up the yardage and decided even though she was a lady she could handle the extra 10 yards from the men’s tees and casually walked towards the tee box.

I guess I'll be hitting from the red teas. After all I am a lady...

“I want to be just like dad and hit from the white tees”

Kali is a rule follower  So once she spotted the closed sign she began having second thoughts.

Aware now that I was in a magical world where dogs play golf I convinced Kali it would be ok to play the hole and that we wouldn’t get in trouble.  After all, who would think that a dog would be playing golf.  That’s ridiculous!  Anyway, this was more like fetch with graphite sticks…

“I’m a rule follower and maybe we shouldn’t do this dad”

Kali stepped into the tee box gazing down the fairway.  A  thought bubble appeared over her head:  “Grip it and rip it!”.  She hits a monster drive about 240 yards down the center of the fairway.  Her ball (a “pink lady”) comes to a stop about a hundred feet from the green

We walk the 240 yards to Kali’s ball and since we have the course to ourselves she decides to take a break.  She lies down to savor the shot and she’s now getting visions of grandeur.  Thought bubble, “a chip and putt and down in three for birdie”!

This game is easy!

This game is easy!

As I know all too well after a great shot if one gets too cocky the golf Gods have a way of knocking you down and reminding you that you’re mortal.  Golf is a humbling game indeed.  Kali stands up, approaches her ball and asks me for her pitching wedge.  I realize that an entire set of clubs is now hanging of my shoulder and I’m wearing white overalls.  Great!  I am now Kali’s daddy-caddy…  I hand her the wedge and as Kali addresses the ball another thought bubble appears over her head:  “Drop it in from 100 yards for Eagle?  No, don’t get greedy.  Just get it close for the gimme putt and walk off with the Bird”.  Kali swings and shanks her ball into the green side bunker.  She looks at me with frustration.  The golf Gods snicker.  Kali walks to the bunker and shouts out at me orders me, “Sand wedge”…

It turns out, like me, Kali is not very good at getting out of the sand.  She takes a hack and the ball shoots straight into the side of the bunker.  It’s totally plugged.  Uh-oh.  Kali growls at the sand and glares at me.  Thought bubble:  “Don’t say a word”.  If I didn’t know better I would have thought I heard a few curse words under those growls.  But Kali wouldn’t do that.  On the other hand golf has a way of bringing out the worst in casual players like Kali and I…

Dad, I don't find any humor in your comment 'Just another day at the beach'.

Dad, I don’t find any humor in your comment ‘Just another day at the beach’.

Kali takes another hack at the ball and it (amazingly) shoots straight up in the air landing on the green with back spin and rolls towards the hole resting about 6 feet from the cup.  She’s laying four with a very makeable six foot uphill putt.  I think to myself that if this was my first round of golf I’d be very happy with a bogie on this par 4.

6 foot uphill with a slight break to the left. I've got this.

Finally on the green.  OK, 6 foot uphill with a slight break to the left. I’ve got this.

Kali:  “Putter pleeeeeassse”.  Thought bubble over my head:  “I’m never caddying for her again”.

Kali lines up her putt as the gallery of birds and squirrels watch in anticipation.  She addresses the ball, takes a short back stroke and strikes the ball.  It rolls gently up the slight uphill and just like she read it the ball breaks ever so slightly to the left.  Rolling, rolling, and stopping just 6 inches short of the cup.  Kali taps in for double bogie, takes the Pink Lady out of the cup and throws it at the geese assembled near the next tee box.  Poor form.  And she didn’t even yell “fore”…

So goes the first, and probably last, one hole round of golf for my Golden Kali.  Like so many rounds I’ve played it started out great and somewhere along the way went bad.

Kali quickly shook off the bad “round” of golf.  I mean literally shook off all the sand that was in her coat from the two hacks out of the bunker.  We continued along our walk both knowing that being together on a beautiful day like today was par for the course.  And par for our course is just fine for us.

Another beautiful day in a Golden Paradise.

Another beautiful day in a Golden Paradise.

GPS – Golden Positioning System

Kali loves car rides.

When Holly is with me Kali lies down in the back seat and relies on us to the get to right place.  But apparently she has caught on to the fact that when Holly is in the car she tends to provide a lot of “input” about which road to take and where to turn.  So, when it’s just me and Kali, she insists on helping out with the navigation.  But Kali’s technique is a little different than Holly’s…

Kali will look to the skies and quickly establish connection with a satellite staying fixed on it in order to relay the correct coordinates to me, her pilot.  The cockpit is a little awkward for her but she doesn’t seem to mind and she almost always gets us to our destination on time and without incident.  Which is usually the pet store where treats and praise await my co-pilot.

Golden Positioning System

Golden Positioning System

The Merry Old Land Of Oz

Did Kali and I mention that Smokey was back?  We may not have even mentioned that he ever left.   He was gone for about three months while his mom (my daughter) was living somewhere else.  Smokey decided he missed Kali too much so he moved back in and brought my daughter with him.  Yes parents of adult children, you know how that one goes….  😉

Upon his arrival he gave Kali the once over and decided she was a mess and needed a little grooming which he would do himself.   It looked a bit like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the cowardly lion finally make it to the Emerald City.  Upon entering the city and stating their desire to meet with the great Wizard the residents decide Dorothy and crew first need to be spiffied up a bit.  They proceed to clean then up in grand fashion while singing,

Rub, rub here, Rub, rub there whether you’re tin or brass
That’s how we keep you in repair, In the Merry Old Land of Oz

– From The Merry Old Land Of Oz 

And this is pretty much what Smokey did when he re-entered his merry old land of Kali.

“Sniff sniff here, lick lick there, I’ll give the softest nibble
That’s how I keep you looking good and ready for your dinner kibble”

– From Smokey’s thought bubble

(Yes, very corny!  But don’t blame me; Smokey’s responsible for the contents of his thought bubbles.)

Celebrations Abound

Wow – it’s been almost three weeks since my last post.  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind during that time with professional demands greatly increased and my son’s wedding which took place last weekend.  So, great problems to have and while I’m am certainly not complaining I miss writing and reading with my blogging community.

Kali has been very patient during this busy period receiving much less attention from me, missed walks, and some extended periods staying home in the back yard on her own.  She doesn’t have separation anxiety and by all accounts settles down and probably mostly sleeps when we are out, but she sure is glad to see us when we arrive back home after being away for several hours.  And while it’s been hectic with lots of family in and out and increased activities at the homestead Kali took all that in stride and was a gracious canine host.  She met dozens of new people and charmed each and every one of them giving them an appropriate amount of attention when they first arrived at the house but then moved on to a comfortable spot to sleep or just observe the activity.

The night before the wedding we hosted the rehearsal dinner that included not only the wedding party but all out of town family members from both sides as well as close friends.  I was very proud of Kali who was very respectful of everyone even though there was a lot of food, great smells from the”taco truck” caterers, and “sympathetic” guests.  During the event Kali stayed by my side most of the time well aware that people food was off limits but the biscuits in my pocket would flow into her mouth if she behaved.  And of course she did.

But then there was the wedding day.  The wedding day did not include Kali even though I had (only half jokingly) pitched the idea to my son that Kali as Flower Girl could pull Smokey, as Ring Bearer, in a wagon with the rings hanging on a ribbon from Smokey’s mouth.

The prototype I pitched to my son.  Smokey would have been sitting in the wagon with the rings.

The prototype I pitched to my son. Smokey would have been sitting in the wagon with the rings.

I think Kali could have handled this and would have loved to have been part of our family’s special day!

So now the wedding is behind us, family has gone home, and Holly, Kali, and I once again have the house to ourselves.  Ahh… nice. Work will remain hectic so Kali will have less Dad time but more Mom time since Holly is off work for the summer.

But wait there’s more… Sunday marks one year of Kali arriving in America and joining our pack  How cool is that?  A wedding last week and an anniversary this coming week.

Celebrations abound.

My son Michael and his bride Katie at their wedding

My son Michael and his bride Katie at their wedding

Kali NOT at the wedding and pondering wagons.

Kali NOT at the wedding and pondering wagons and what could have been.